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Pep Guardiola: Attack is the best form of defence

Pep Guardiola maintains attacking is the best way of defending ahead of Manchester City's crunch clash against Arsenal.

City, whose defensive vulnerabilities have been savagely exposed by Chelsea and Leicester this month, recorded their first clean sheet in nine attempts against Watford in midweek.

That came after Guardiola made the decision to leave centre-back John Stones, one of the key figures in his masterplan to create a side that plays out from the back, on the bench.

But Guardiola insists he has not backtracked after previously claiming defending was less about fundamentals such as tackling and more to do with controlling the ball.

The Catalan still wants to focus much of his attention on dominating possession and attacking, even though he is well aware of how ruthless Premier League title rivals Arsenal can be with the ball.

Guardiola said: "If we play well, we are going to defend. If we are lazy and we are not strong enough, they have the quality.

"Arsenal always have a huge quality. They buy the right people, good players. They have fast players up front, they can defend well, use perfectly the counter-attack - a good team. We have a lot of respect.

"I like to have a clean sheet but I know that a clean sheet is not just as a consequence of the back four.

"The players who ran the most in the last game were David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne. Kevin, Raheem (Sterling) and David helped us to make the clean sheet possible.

"Now we have to create a good build-up, a good moment with the ball, to help our back guys, to help our strikers to score more goals. That is what we have to try in the future."

Guardiola will consider whether to recall Stones and will be forced into at least one other change with midfielder Ilkay Gundogan having suffered cruciate ligament damage in the midweek win.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Nolito will vie for a position up front in the continued absence of the suspended Sergio Aguero. Midfielder Fernandinho is also still banned.

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